Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Mini - Then and Now

It is a different country, different manufacturer and obviously a different place in time, but one thing is for sure, I believe the Mini Cooper is here to stay.
My love affair with the Mini has lasted 40+ years. I grew up, married, raised three handsome sons, now have three beautiful daughters-in-law, and eight fantastic grandchildren, but recently, a new love has crept into my life - my Mini Cooper!

Living in England in the early 60s, my fiancée, soon to be husband, drove speedily around in his bright red Austin Mini sometimes to the annoyance of other drivers. I remember one incident when a driver, who had been beaten to a parking spot, yelled out “…bloody little thing…I could stamp on it….” Although we loved our old Austin Mini with a passion, a growing family dictated a larger vehicle.

Now, 40 years later, having lived in America for almost 30 years, this grandmother has gone full circle and is now the proud owner of a Mini Cooper. The buying process is of course completely different than it was all those years ago. With the help of a sales associate, one sits at a computer and literally builds the car on screen. Model, style, interior and exterior colors are chosen and then, one of the biggest choices of all for me, whether to choose an automatic gearbox rather than a stick shift. I chose the automatic and wondered later if I would be disappointed, I was not. After three months of “incubation”, which I was able to track on-line, my baby made its debut at Ralph Schomp Mini in Littleton, Colorado, polished and shining from its origin in Cowley, Oxford, England. As the proud owner, I was not sure whether to break open a bottle of champagne or give out cigars!

Evidence of BMWs fantastic engineering in the present day Mini Cooper is everywhere from the sports car like gearbox to the steering and braking capability. The car feels “as one” with the road providing a similar but much better feel than the old Austin model. Having once owned a Porsche 356B and a Mercedes 420 SEL, it was pleasure to discover again the thrill of driving a beautifully engineered car.

My Mini makes me smile – I actually smile at a car!! What’s wrong with me? But I secretly know the answer. For years I have wanted a Mini of my own, but raising a family, having a career and just the responsibilities of life meant I had to purchase a car suitable for my lifestyle. In 2006, with the encouragement of my husband, I chose a car just for myself, and I chose a Mini Cooper. Needless to say, my car is always parked in the nether regions of a parking lot to avoid the inevitable dings that will surely come. But the distance gives me the opportunity to walk slowly towards my car, appraise the workmanship and style to the extent that I always find myself smiling!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A New Member

The National League of American Pen Women was founded in 1897 as an alternative to the (then) all-male National Press Club. Realizing a need for an organization that would include women of the press, Marian Longfellow O’Donoghue, niece of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, decided to create such as organization. Along with Margaret Sullivan Burke and Anna Sanborne Hamilton, she made plans for “bringing together women journalists, authors and illustrators for mutual benefits and the strength that comes of union.”

After a fantastic lunch and general discussion, Nancy Bentley was inducted into the National League of American Pen Women by Diane Hoover at their Colorado Springs, Colorado, monthly meeting. Their motto: “One for all and all for one.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Victorian Bed and Breakfast

Whether visitors want to walk in the parks, hike the historic districts in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs or Old Colorado City, the Crescent Lily Inn is ideally located.

The house was built in the Queen Anne style in 1898 by Major Robert Waugh, who was the oldest Civil War Veteran in Colorado when he died in 1929. With the division of Virginia, he took part in the formulation of the Provisional Government of West Virginia in 1861. Major Waugh, who was part Native American himself, went on to accept an appointment as an Indian agent in Utah. When he retired, he and his family moved to Colorado Springs and built their home on Boulder Crescent.

The inn has five guest bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, queen or king sized beds as well as many other amenities. The inn has splendid woodwork, including an impressive staircase. The inn is beautifully decorated with antiques and there is a pleasant, elegant feel about the home especially in the dining room where homemade meals are a delight. or telephone: 719-442-2331